Judge dismisses Sissonville student's case over failing grade

By Cara Bailey | May 10, 2007

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha Circuit Court judge has dismissed the case filed on behalf of a Sissonville High School straight-A student who was given an F on one of her projects.

Judge Duke Bloom ruled May 8 that the grade will not be changed and the case dismissed, citing West Virginia Code which says the grade cannot be changed unless there is "clear and convincing evidence" there is a mathematical error.

Lindsay Hay, identified only as L.H. in the lawsuit, and her parents filed a case Feb. 8 in Kanawha Circuit Court, seeking an injunction after teacher Jane Schultz gave Hay an F on a leaf project because it was turned in late.

"It is not … a proper role for a court to assess whether a particular penalty imposed for turning in schoolwork late is too harsh," Bloom wrote in his decision.

Hay, who maintained a 4.5 grade point average, went on a student council trip to Jackson's Mill, which caused her to turn the project in late. However, Schultz claimed Hay could have called her mother to turn in the project for her.

Bloom also wrote that Hay was not "punished" for her absence, instead she did not receive full credit because she did not turn the project in on time.

"I am thankful for Judge Bloom's decision to dismiss this case, not just on my behalf, but on the behalf of all teachers," Schultz said in a prepared statement. "Every teacher I know tries to ensure success for each student as much as possible.

"We cannot be effective in the classroom while harboring paranoia about parents second-guessing grades or every mark we make on a paper."

Requests for monetary damages were removed from the case during oral arguments on March 29.

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